Skype's Giving Manhattan Free Wi-Fi For New Year's

If you live in NYC, or are headed there for the massive clusternut of cold and pain that is the Times Square ball drop, you can officially leave your data plan behind. Skype's flooding the island with free, fast Wi-Fi from noon tomorrow until noon on January 1.

Skype says 16 neighborhoods are covered in all, including Times Square, Union Square, Greenwich Village, Chelsea, and most of the places where you can buy a $5 street pashmina. Just find a Skype Wifi hotspot on your mobile device, connect, and browse. Or at least, that seems to be the case; you may need to go through Skype on your desktop or iOS device. In either event, the service will be provided by Towerstream, which has hopefully girded its access points for the coming onslaught.

It's the second time in the last few weeks that Skype has played Wi-Fi Claus; its free airport Wi-Fi offer expired just a few days ago. And while there's no guarantee that the network can handle the crush of millions of New Yorkers and/or tourists googling Snooki's weight loss secrets, it's certainly a nice gesture. [Skype via CNET]